How Free-Stop Hinge Mechanisms Can Work for You
We have been asked by several clients, “What is Motion Design Tech®?” It is one of Sugatsune’s core competencies and serves as the guiding light for R&D to develop new products.
It stands for “motion designed with technology.” Put simply, Motion Design Tech® is the culmination of our company’s expertise in damper and torque technologies combined with power assist features, stopping technology, and a love for creating unique solutions.
Wait, torque technology? Is that something you find in a car? Well, yes, but for us, it’s the baseline principle that allows hinges to maintain their position without the restrictions of a mechanical detent. This is what we refer to as “free-stop.”
The key to this is the hinge axis that creates friction to provide resistance support. This prevents a component from moving unwantedly, allowing the door or panel to remain stationary no matter what position you leave it in.
Types of Hinge Mechanisms
There are four basic mechanisms used to create this free-stop functionality; a curl mechanism, a disk mechanism, a pipe mechanism, and what is often referred to as an Omega clip mechanism.
- Curl Type: The simplest of the four torque technologies, and one that launched Sugatsune into the torque hinge business, is the curl mechanism. It is based on a shaft wrapped with a spring sheet that generates friction when the shaft rotates. Our HG-TQA is an example of this application. The main advantage of this mechanism is its simplicity, which allows for designs to be smaller as well as being a lower-cost option to develop. The problem with this hinge mechanism is that the feeling that users get during operation is different between opening and closing of the hinge.
- Disk Type: A more popular torque technology is found in our HG-ITHJ and top-selling HG-TA/ TB torque hinges. These incorporate movable disks that are sandwiched between fixed disks from which the friction is generated when the movable disks rotate. Innately, this mechanism is slimmer and can be used in narrow spaces however, the hinge axis has a larger diameter compared to others that produce the same amount of torque.
- Pipe Type: The third torque technology consists of hinges that incorporate a pipe mechanism that uses a shaft that is press-fitted into a plastic tube that generates torque as the shaft rotates. Found in our HG-TP and HG-KNT hinges, this grease-less hinge mechanism is also compact in size and can be installed either vertically or horizontally. The downside is that this type of hinge shouldn’t be used in environments with varying degrees of temperature as the amount of torque can change as the plastic pipe expands and contracts.
- (Omega) Clip Type: A more advanced type of torque technology is the Omega clip type, which supplies free-stop performance by generating friction via rounded clips that rotate along a shaft. A benefit of this design is that it’s easy to control the amount of friction that can be generated by simply adding or removing clips. It can also generate more friction than the other types and, with its constant torque, has a long life cycle. Great for customized solutions. Sugatsune features this technology in its recently launched HG-TMH dual-axis torque hinge.
Find the Right Torque Technology for Your Project
Sugatsune offers a diverse line-up of free-stop hinge mechanisms that offer a wide range of torque levels. Along with the company’s expertise and customization capabilities, industrial engineers can be assured that Sugatsune will help them to find the right solution for their applications.